Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Evan Thomas, Barack Obama, God, and Common Sense

An editor of Newsweek made a rather remarkable statement about his opinion of who - and what - President Barack Obama is recently. I prepared a transcript of a video clip from Evan Thomas's profession of belief on Hardball for a post in another blog. Mr. Thomas said "I mean, in a way, Obama is standing above the country, above above the world, he's sort of God, he's uh he's going to bring all different sides together."

Happily, Mr. Thomas did say "...he's sort of God...." [emphasis mine]

Still, I do not think that I would refer to any human being in quite that way.

Who Does God He Think He is?

The first chapter of the Catechism of the Catholic Church goes into some detail about who and what God is. That chapter begins with:
"Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last, the beginning and the end of everything. The Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works." (198)
God is called "Lord of Hosts" in Psalms, 80, and quite a few other places in the Bible. Talking about what God is like with my children, I've called him 'large and in charge.' Also merciful, just, and loving, of course. I don't think it's that bad a way of indicating what God is, in relation to humanity.

Submission to Civil Authority: A Catholic Requirement

As a Catholic, I am required to be a good citizen, and cooperate with civil authorities.
"It is the duty of citizens to work with civil authority for building up society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom." (2255)
The duty of citizens includes some things we're supposed to do, whether we feel like it or not:
"Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country...." (2240)
That "submission to authority" does not, however, extend to regarding those with civil authority as being like God.

Submission to Civil Authority, Yes: Idolatry, No

The Church is rather specific when it comes to the matter of idolatry.

We're not supposed to do it. (2110-2114)

"Idolatry" isn't just worshiping a statue:
"Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, 'You cannot serve God and mammon.'..." (2113)
That "mammon" quote is from Luke 16:13.

I don't know what Evan Thomas was thinking when he said the President Obama was "sort of God".

I'm not going to go all Zephania, and rail about idolaters. I do, though, think it's a good idea to carefully review what we believe about what God is, what we are, and the difference between the Creator and the created.

It's quite okay, I think, to be enthusiastic about nations, individuals, football teams, and wallpaper. But not to the the extent of thinking that any of the above are 'sort of God.'

Related posts:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

A couple repeated words and an overly long list. You can delete this comment when you get it.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

I'll go back and double-check for repeated words. That strange column of empty parentheses is gone, now: Thanks!

I mean to say, what was I thinking, with

* ()
* ()
* ()

and so on?!

BTW - the repetitions in the transcript are my efforts to faithfully repeat what Mr. Thomas said. Attempts to tidy up the spoken words would have resulted in my, in effect, interpreting what I think he would have said.

I can't get inside his head, so I just quoted him.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.